Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I made this for my potluck today. Super good! I got tons of compliments! Easy to make and extremely yummy! ENJOY!!!

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
2 Tablespoons brown rice syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt

3 cups shredded coconut

¾ cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F (177C). In a medium bowl mix the sugar, non-dairy milk, brown rice syrup, vanilla extract and salt. Mix in the shredded coconut.

Add the all-purpose flour to the bowl containing the wet ingredients and mix with a spoon until well incorporated. At this point the dough will be so thick you'll probably need to mix it with your hands. Do this until the dough is well mixed.
Form the mixture into 1 inch balls (a very small ice cream scoop works well) and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.

Monday, April 11, 2011

love this store! such cute clothes!!

Yup this store specializes in the pin up look.. my cousins wedding and bachlorette is a 50 60s theme and I had no idea where to shop! Wells this store had exactly what I was looking for.. cute n sexy pin up clothes with a modern twist!! Never was that into the pin up look for myself but I know for sure that I will be back. Oh and the price is reasonable! Luv it! Saw the same dress that would have gone for 100 something in hollywood only for 40 dollars here.. Anyways juss wanted to share this lovely cutsy store! Happy monday!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Thursday, March 31, 2011

9 Appetite-Suppressing Foods

By Whitney Provost via beachbody newsletter

If you're like most people, conquering your appetite is one of the biggest challenges you face in your fitness and weight loss journey. As soon as the word "diet" crosses your lips, you may find yourself craving all the junk you know you're not supposed to eat. The secret is eating the right foods to help calm the cravings for the wrong ones. Adding these 9 easy-to-find, tasty foods to your meal plan can help you rein in your appetite before it gets out of control!

1.Oatmeal. This hot cereal is high in fiber and low on the glycemic index, which means it fills you up and takes a long time to digest. Research has shown that diets high in slow-burning carbohydrates like oatmeal suppress the hunger hormone grehlin more effectively than diets high in fat do. In fact, when you eat oatmeal for breakfast, you may find that your appetite is lower at lunchtime. Steel-cut or rolled oats digest more slowly than the "instant" variety do, so it's worth taking a few extra minutes in the morning to prepare your breakfast the old-fashioned way.
2.Apples. Not only are apples nutritious, but what sets them apart from other fruits is pectin, a soluble fiber that helps regulate blood sugar, keeps you full, and sustains your energy. One medium apple with skin contains 4 grams of fiber, which is more than you'd get in an average slice of whole wheat bread. Add an apple and some cinnamon to your morning oatmeal for an appetite-suppressing breakfast.
3.Pine nuts. These edible pine-tree seeds contain more protein than any other nut or seed, and their oil stimulates two appetite-suppressing hormones (cholecystokinin [CCK] and glucagon-like peptide-1) that tell your brain you're not hungry. Blend pine nuts with basil, garlic, and a little olive oil to make pesto, or sprinkle them on your salad or oatmeal for a delicious, nutty crunch.
4.Salad. The fiber in typical salad vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, spinach, celery, cucumbers, broccoli, and peppers is very filling and helps slow the release of glucose into your bloodstream. Studies have shown that when people start a meal with a small salad, they eat significantly fewer calories in the meal itself. Just watch out for the high-fat dressings (or worse, fat-free dressings that are high in sugar). Try having the dressing on the side and dipping your fork into it for easy portion control, or simply add a dash of balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice for a tasty, super-low-calorie option. Bonus tip: Try to eat a vegetable at every meal to keep your appetite at bay all day long.
5.Olive oil and other unsaturated fats. Researchers at the University of California at Irvine found that unsaturated fat causes the intestines to release a compound (oleoylethanolamide) that has been shown to reduce appetite and stimulate weight loss. Some great unsaturated fat choices include avocados, olives and olive oil, almonds, salmon, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, and sesame seeds. These foods are high in calories, so enjoy them in moderation while regulating your appetite.
6.Flaxseeds. Flax is one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The seeds are also very high in protein and fiber, making them excellent for appetite control. Sprinkle ground flaxseeds over oatmeal, salads, or yogurt, or add them to smoothies to help stabilize your blood sugar and turn off the hunger hormones.
7.Beans. The fiber in beans increases CCK, a digestive hormone that's a natural appetite suppressant. A research study at the University of California at Davis found that men who ate a high-fiber meal containing beans had CCK levels that were two times higher than when they ate a low-fiber meal. Beans also keep your blood sugar steady, which helps stave off hunger.
8.Whey protein. New studies suggest that whey protein stimulates the hormones that increase the feeling of being full. In one study, researchers at the University of Surrey in England found that people who consumed whey protein felt fuller and more satisfied with less food. Whey also stabilizes blood sugar, and that can help control food urges. Make a drink with Beachbody's Whey Protein Powder to calm your appetite any time of the day.
9.Spicy foods. Capsaicin, the ingredient that gives peppers their heat, can also help control your raging appetite. A recent study published in Clinical Nutrition suggests that capsaicin-rich foods may help you consume fewer calories, plus they help support weight loss by suppressing your appetite and making you feel fuller. You can add hot pepper sauce to tomato juice, stir-fry some Anaheim or Serrano peppers with other vegetables, or cook up some jalapeño or poblano peppers in your omelet. Other spicy ingredients may have similar effects, so try adding spices like hot mustard and curry to your salads and meats.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Best Fats to Get Lean

By Whitney Provost via Beachbody newsletter
You might think that to lose weight, you need to cut the fat out of your
meals. After all, fat is higher in calories than protein and carbs, and low-fat
diets have been popular since the Senate Nutrition Committee first recommended
them in the late 1970s. But research shows that a moderate-fat diet (with about
35 percent of calories consumed coming from fat) will help you drop pounds
permanently, feel full longer, and avoid bingeing. The trick is to eat the right
kind of fat to increase satisfaction and boost weight loss. Here's why it's
important to eat fat—and we offer five of the best fat sources to add to your


How eating fat will help you lose fat.

In 2008, researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel found
that people who followed low-fat diets lost less weight than people who followed
low-carb or moderate-fat diets. The low-fat group lost an average of 6.5 pounds
over 2 years, but the low-carb and moderate-fat groups lost about 10 pounds.
Women did especially well on the moderate-fat diet, losing an average of 13
pounds during the study.

Fat is an important element in weight loss for several reasons:

  • Fat helps your body control blood sugar and insulin spikes after eating
    carbohydrates. Better sugar metabolism means less fat storage.
  • Fat slows down digestion and aids nutrient absorption. You'll stay fuller
    longer and get more health benefits from the food you eat.
  • Essential fatty acids (like omega-3s) may boost your metabolic rate and
    increase fat burning.
  • Fat tastes good. It also provides a "mouthfeel" that is satisfying, which
    can help you be happy with less food.

Eating more fat may also help you stick to your diet longer. In a study
conducted by Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, participants got either 20
percent of their calories from fat or 35 percent of their calories from fat.
After 6 months, both groups had lost weight. But after 18 months, only 20
percent of the people in the low-fat group were still following the diet,
compared with 54 percent of the people in the moderate-fat group. Likewise, the
subjects in the moderate-fat group had maintained their weight loss, while the
low-fat group participants had gained most of the weight back.

If you reach for a box of low-fat or fat-free crackers or cookies because you
want to lose weight, you may actually be sabotaging your diet. Manufacturers
frequently replace fat with sugar in packaged food items to make them taste
better. You think you're making a good decision by eating fat-free products, but
the excess sugar and refined flour can lead to fatigue, cravings, mood swings,
and weight gain caused by the overproduction of insulin—the fat-storage hormone.
As a snack, a sliced apple with some peanut butter or a salad with oil and
vinegar dressing would be a better weight loss choice. The complex carbs and
healthy fats will maintain your blood sugar levels, boost your energy, and keep
you satisfied longer.

What kind of fat should you eat?

To get lean, you need to eat the right kind of fat. Avoid saturated and trans
fats (which are found in red meat, full-fat dairy products, and many packaged
foods), and instead choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Here are
some of the best sources of fat to help you reach your weight goal.

  1. Core Omega-3™Fish. Fish like salmon, albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, and
    sardines contains beneficial amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Most experts agree
    that eating two servings of fatty fish per week is safe for people who are
    worried about mercury or other toxins. (Pregnant women should consult with their
    doctors about consuming fish.) If you don't like fish, a quality supplement like
    Beachbody's Core
    will give you the benefits without the fishy taste.
  2. Olive oil. Heart-healthy oils like
    olive, canola, and peanut oil are excellent sources of fat for dieters. They
    have also been shown to lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart
    disease. Use them sparingly when sautéing, or drizzle them over your favorite
    salad or vegetables with a little vinegar and some herbs to maximize the
    absorption of nutrients. Moderation is important: You really only need about a
    teaspoon of oil to get all its benefits. Using more will add significant
  3. Avocados. Eat a spinach and carrot
    salad with a little avocado, and you'll not only get a dose of good fat, but
    you'll also absorb more phytonutrients like lutein and beta-carotene. Scientists
    at Ohio State University in Columbus found that more antioxidants were absorbed
    when people ate a salad containing avocados than when they ate a salad without
    this tasty fruit. One-quarter of an avocado will add flavor while only adding
    about 75 calories.
  4. Nuts. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, and
    peanuts are powerhouses of good nutrition—full of antioxidants, minerals, and
    monounsaturated fat. The Nurses Health Study, where more than 86,000 nurses were
    followed for 14 years, found that those who ate nuts regularly (about an ounce
    per day) tended to weigh less than those who didn't. The protein, fat, and fiber
    make nuts more filling, which helps dieters stay on track. Plus, there's a
    psychological bonus to eating nuts: Because they're rich and satisfying, you
    probably won't feel like you're on a diet.
  5. Flaxseeds. Packing the triple wallop
    of fat, protein, and fiber, flaxseeds are a delicious and healthful addition to
    any diet. You can grind them up and add them to oatmeal, yogurt, salads, or
    vegetables, or pretty much anywhere you want a nutty crunch. They're a plant
    source of omega-3 fatty acids, making them a good choice for vegetarians or the
    aforementioned non-fish-loving folks. Ground flaxseeds also have 3 grams of
    fiber per tablespoon, which helps slow digestion and keep your blood sugar

Making room for fat.

Certain fats might be considered necessary for health, but that's not a cue
to overindulge. At 9 calories per gram, fat is a more concentrated energy source
than either protein or carbohydrates (each has 4 calories per gram). You need to
be mindful of your overall caloric intake if you want to eat more fat and lose
weight. But when you feel full and satisfied after eating the right kinds of
fat, you'll probably find it a bit easier to manage your calories.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Big Breakfasts for Big Results

By Joe Wilkes via beachbody newsletter
Breakfast. It seems like forever since Mom told us breakfast is the most
important meal of the day, but one study shows it's actually true—she wasn't
just nagging us. Breakfast is a key component of weight management: A study
presented at the 90th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society showed that
participants who consumed large breakfasts high in protein and carbohydrates
followed by a low-carb, low calorie diet for the rest of the day lost almost
five times as much weight as the participants who followed a low-carb,
high-protein diet throughout the day. So what's the big deal about breakfast?
And what is a big breakfast anyway? It doesn't seem like the lumberjack special
at the local diner would do much to get the pounds off, so what should
we be eating?

Eggs and Toast

The study supported the idea that when we wake up in the morning, our bodies
want food. You've burned through all the fuel from the previous day, and now
your body's ready to burn anything—even muscle—to get a jump-start on the day.
And if you skip breakfast, muscle is indeed what your body will burn. Later in
the day, your brain is still in starvation mode from breakfast (or lack
thereof), so your body will store all the calories you eat as adipose tissue, or
fat, to save up for the next day when you try to starve it again. This study
also found that levels of serotonin, the chemical responsible for controlling
cravings, were much higher in the morning, which is why breakfast is the meal so
many of us are willing to skip. But if our bodies are left unfed, our serotonin
levels drop, and our bodies' craving for sweets begin to rise throughout the

But before you hit McDonald's® for their 800-calorie Big
Breakfast®, or worse, their 1,150-calorie Deluxe Breakfast, or swing
by Denny's® for a 740-calorie Grand Slam® or 950-calorie
All-American Slam® with hash browns, keep in mind, these weren't the
breakfasts the study participants consumed. The big-breakfast group had a
610-calorie breakfast as part of a 1,240-calorie day. Breakfasts included milk,
lean meat, cheese, whole grains, a serving of healthy fat, and one ounce of
chocolate or candy to defray the craving for sweets. The other group's
participants consumed 1,085 calories per day as part of a high-protein, low-carb
diet; only 290 of their daily calories were consumed at breakfast. Both groups
were on their respective diets for eight months. The high-protein group lost an
average of nine pounds, but the big-breakfast group lost an average of 40
pounds. And, perhaps not surprisingly, the big-breakfast group complained less
about cravings and hunger.

The big-breakfast group's breakfast consisted of 58 grams of carbs, 47 grams
of protein, and 22 grams of fat. Study reviewers attribute some of the success
of the big-breakfast group to the fact that the protein and healthy fats eaten
kept the participants full and reduced cravings. They also said that nutritional
requirements were well met and that there weren't empty calories consumed,
because the breakfasts included lots of whole grains, fruits, lean proteins, and
healthy unsaturated fats. So bad news for the lumberjack-special devotees—a big
plate of greasy hash browns, bacon, and biscuits with gravy isn't going to get
the job done, unless the job we're discussing is clogging your arteries.

Here are some healthy big breakfasts, similar to the ones consumed by the
study's participants.

Chicken and the Egg

2 large eggs, scrambled
2 slices whole wheat toast
1 boneless, skinless
chicken breast, grilled
1 grapefruit

589 calories, 52 grams
carbohydrates, 48 grams protein, 19 grams fat, 5.5 grams saturated fat, 12 grams

Monday, March 14, 2011

Eating for Great Abs


By Ben Kallen via p90x newsletter

When it comes to creating incredible abs, even the most effective workout
programs can only bring you so far. That's because you can't get a flat, hard
midsection without losing body fat. Here's how to eat your way to great abs.


And no matter how much effort you put into creating a six-pack, no one's
going to see it if it's covered by a layer of flab. (The good news? While it's
impossible to "spot-reduce," abdominal fat is often the first to go when you
start losing weight.)

If you're following the dietary guidelines of a Beachbody®
fitness program
or a personalized meal
plan from
, you'll automatically be eating the right foods
to lose fat as you get in shape. But the following seven principles can give you
an extra edge and will help ensure that the effort you're putting into your abs
will bring you the results you want.

  1. Get plenty of protein. Eating enough lean
    protein promotes fat loss and muscle gain, the two most important elements for
    developing great abs. It also helps keep you from getting hungry while you're
    eating right. You don't have to gobble down 12-ounce steaks—just eat a normal
    portion of lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy, or vegetarian protein with every
    meal, and make sure your snacks contain some protein, too. If you still have a
    hard time getting enough in your diet, a daily shake made with Whey
    Protein Powder
    or Shakeology®
    can be a perfect addition.

    By the way, protein is especially important
    in the morning, when a lot of people don't get as much as they should. A
    protein-rich breakfast will help keep your blood sugar steady for hours,
    preventing the dips that can lead to cravings later in the day. (Try some
    low-fat chicken sausage, or an omelet with one whole egg and three egg whites,
    along with fruit or whole-grain toast.)
  2. Results and Recovery Tub and DrinkReconsider
    your carbs. Despite the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets,
    the average American meal is still too high in sugar and fast-burning starches
    to bring body fat down to ab-baring levels. It's time to say goodbye to
    sweetened soda, ditch the Doritos®, and save the cake for your birthday. If your
    fitness plan calls for a sports drink before a long cardio workout, or a carb-and-protein
    recovery drink
    after resistance training, that's fine. But the rest of the
    time, stick with foods that are on the low end of the glycemic index (refer to for more information)—these foods burn more slowly so they
    won't spike your blood sugar and insulin levels.
  3. Have fun with fiber. Something about the word
    "fiber" just doesn't sound appetizing. But high-fiber foods can actually be
    quite delicious: fresh berries and other fruits, salads loaded with colorful
    produce, your favorite steamed vegetables or vegetable soup, stews or chili made
    with beans, chewy whole-grain breads and cereals . . . You get the picture.
    (These foods just happen to be loaded with nutrients as well.) High-fiber foods
    keep you fuller with fewer calories, and they help keep your digestive system
    working at its best—a double-whammy for getting rid of belly bulge
  4. Enjoy some yogurt. Probiotics, the healthful
    bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented foods, have been proven to help
    reduce belly fat. In a recent study in Finland, new mothers who took probiotic
    supplements averaged smaller waist circumferences, and lower body fat in
    general, than those who didn't take probiotic supplements. And while the topic
    is still controversial, studies have found that eating lots of calcium-rich
    dairy foods like yogurt may increase overall weight loss.
  5. Don't forget to eat. Tempted to lower your
    daily calorie count by skipping meals? Don't. Going hungry can raise your levels
    of the stress-related hormone cortisol, which research has found can increase
    belly fat even in otherwise thin women. And eating too infrequently can lower
    your metabolism and energy levels, while increasing the chance that you'll get
    too hungry and decide to chuck your meal plan entirely. If you're eating the
    right foods, regular meals and snacks will keep your body fueled while you're
    working toward that strong core.
  6. Cup of Ice WaterDrink more
    fluids. Hydration is important when you're on a fitness plan,
    but drinking plenty of water has particular benefits for your midsection. It
    helps keep your stomach full so you don't overeat, and it helps flush out excess
    sodium to prevent belly bloating. (Eating more potassium-rich foods, such as
    tomatoes and bananas, will also help in this area.)

    Plain ol' H20 can't
    be beat, but you can also switch it up with flavored waters, iced tea, and
    anything else you like to drink that isn't full of sweeteners. How much do you
    need? The old rule of 8 glasses a day is a good start, but everyone is
    different: drink more if you're exercising or it's hot out, and less if you're
    running to the bathroom every 5 minutes.
  7. . . . With two exceptions. It's time to cut
    down on those mood-altering substances, coffee and alcohol. Too much caffeine
    raises your cortisol levels and can impair your sleep, which can lower the
    production of fitness-promoting hormones. Meanwhile, the proverbial "beer belly"
    isn't just the result of extra calories—alcohol actually makes it more difficult
    for your body to metabolize carbs and fat. Booze also stimulates your appetite
    and lowers your inhibitions, which can lead to bingeing. The best road to flat
    abs is no alcohol at all, but if you really like a drink now and then, just have
    one at a time (and no more than a few a week), and stay away from higher-calorie
    beers and sugary mixed drinks.

If you add these rules to your fitness plan, you're sure to see faster
improvements in your midsection. Of course, there's a bonus to eating this way:
it'll keep you healthier, too. That may not be as big an inducement as great
abs, but we're throwing it in for free.

RACISM and Ignorance @UCLA

Can't believe this girl!! uuuuh! Just an example of how stupid and ignorant people can be..! Its Shocking!!! This girl goes to UCLA so she is in the middle of one of the most diverse cities in our country.! SOoo SAD!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Earthquake Triggers Tsunami in Japan

 I was up till the morning thinking about those whose lives were ruined by this disaster. Soooo SAD!!!! To have life as you know it taken from you.. Reminds me that each day is a gift and to focus on living each day with happiness! :)

Prayers to those in Japan!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Charlie Sheens ABC interview

Wow I've tried to ignore the whole Charlie Sheen thing.! I failed so here it is.. :)

6 Ways to Fire Up Your Metabolism

By Monica
Ciociola via beachbody newsletter

It can be discouraging when your results don't seem to match the efforts
you're putting into getting in shape. But instead of giving up on your fitness
program, or worse, diving into the Twinkies® (trust me, you'll regret
it!), try making just a few easy changes to your diet and your lifestyle.
Sometimes the smallest things—like getting more protein in the morning or enough
rest at night—can lead to the biggest weight loss surprises.


  1. Don't skip breakfast. Eating lean
    protein in the morning will help get your metabolism revved up for the day
    ahead. Protein from egg whites, for instance, will help stabilize your blood
    sugar, make you feel fuller, and keep you from overeating later in the
  2. Resistance training. Working out
    with some form of resistance—resistance bands, weights, or a stability
    ball—helps build your muscles. And because one pound of muscle burns way more
    calories than a pound of fat does, the more muscle you have on your body, the
    higher your metabolic rate will be.
  3. Woman Lifting a WeightInterval
    training. Short 10-minute explosive cardio sessions
    followed by less intense cardio for the same amount of time will rev up your
    metabolism. For some of the best interval training workouts, check out INSANITY® or TurboFire®.
  4. Get your beauty rest. Human growth
    hormone works directly on cells to increase your metabolic rate by 15 to 20
    percent and can only be produced during the hours of deep sleep. So make sure
    you get a good night's sleep!
  5. The magic mix. At mealtime, try
    consuming lean proteins from chicken and white fish along with complex
    carbohydrates from fruits and veggies. This magical combination will speed up
    your metabolic rate as food is transformed into usable nutrients, and you'll
    build muscle and burn fat during the digestive process.
  6. ¡Ay, caliente! Studies show that hot
    peppers, spices, green teas, and caffeine can give your metabolism a sudden
    surge by stimulating the release of stress hormones. If jalapeño and cayenne
    make you wince, turn to our all-natural Slimming
    supplement, which contains green tea, for the same
    metabolism-boosting effect.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

NOT a good idea!!

Grilled Dijon Chicken

Via Team Beachbody mealplanner
My Meal for Tonight! yummy yummy!! :)
Grilled Dijon Chicken
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts (thawed)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, etc.)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
Preheat grill (or broiler). Blend all ingredients together and spread liberally over chicken breasts. Place chicken on grill (or broiler pan) and grill (broil) for five to ten minutes on each side (or until the center is no longer pink). Serves 2.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Nutritional Information: (per serving)

Calories: 314
Protein: 38 g
Fiber: 4 g
Carbs: 6 g
Fat Total: 15 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g

Ready for Insanity Asylum?

It's due to release in mid-April. The workout will be a 30-Day workout and retail for $89.85, coach price is $67.39 .

ASYLUM will contain 7 workout DVDs that average 60 minutes each. They are called:

  • Speed & Agility
  • Vertical Plyo
  • Relief
  • Strength
  • Game Day
  • Overtime
  • Back to Core

Equipment will be included with an Agility Ladder and Speed Rope (A deluxe set will be available also, that will include extra workout equip, but no additional dvd's). The nutrition guide is called "Get Shredded".

Also the Asylum will include Hybrid Calenders for both Insanity and P90X - THREE SCHEDULES IN TOTAL. 

If you want to be notified as SOON as the release date comes out MESSAGE ME WITH YOUR NAME AND EMAIL!!!
The best way to get the discounted price is to enroll as a Coach - that way, you can also get the 25% discount on Shakeolgy, which helped me lose about 5% Bodyfat during my last Insanity round! Message me for the details!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

6 Simple Rules for Eating Sugar

By Denis Faye via Beachbody newsletter
Few topics boggle the minds of dieters and fitness enthusiasts the way sugar
does. Is this simple carbohydrate the key to unlocking elite sports performance?
Or is it the chains that drag our country deeper and deeper into the obesity
epidemic? Annoyingly, the answer is "both." But before you throw your hands up
in frustration and grab yourself a Twinkie®, let's take a minute to
talk about sugar. It's not as complex as it seems. In fact, with just a few
guidelines, it's incredibly easy to use these simple carbohydrates for good
instead of evil.

Sugar and Strawberries

Rule #1: Just say "know."

Here's a grossly over-simplified look at how sugar, also known as simple
carbohydrates, works. Just as with all carbs, you eat sugar and it's absorbed by
your blood, where, if you have the right amount of insulin in your system, that
insulin converts the sugar to energy. However, if you introduce too much sugar
into your system, the insulin stores it as body fat. A little stored body fat is
fine; the body likes some emergency fuel. However, if your blood sugar spikes
too often and the insulin has to work too hard converting fat, this can lead to
a variety of health issues, including type 2 diabetes and heart problems.

As we'll discuss later, when your body obtains sugar from natural sources,
like fruits and veggies, the process tends to be checked by fiber, which slows
absorption. However, when you eat foods with added sugar, this can
overwhelm the usual checks and balances, causing problems like those nasty blood
sugar spikes. To make matters worse, consuming too much added sugar can cause a
host of other problems, including tooth decay, increased triglycerides (or
stored fat), and malnutrition (from overconsumption of foods filled with empty
calories and deficient in nutrients).

If you wanted one overarching rule to work from, you might choose to avoid
added sugars entirely. You'll get all the energy you need from foods with
naturally occurring sugar. That said, there are times when refined sugar is OK
or even beneficial. If you're able to build yourself a lifestyle completely free
of added sugar, nice work. But for the rest of us, the trick is moderation.

Rule #2: Less is more.

Sugar Pouring From a SpoonOne teaspoon of table
sugar has 15 calories. Honestly, if you have a couple of cups of tea or coffee
in the morning and you dump the proverbial spoonful of sugar in each, that's 30
calories. If the rest of your diet is tight and you're active, it won't matter.
If you're trying to lose weight and are eating at a severe deficit, you'll
probably want to skip those few spoonfuls of sugar, because table sugar is
nutritionally void and you want every calorie to count nutritionally. Other than
that, though, life's short—enjoy your java.

Rule #3: Sugar is sugar is sugar . . .

Agave nectar, honey, beet sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, dextrose, high
fructose corn syrup (HFCS), whatever. At the end of the day, they're all simple
carbs, unregulated by fiber with minimal micronutrient value. Sure, you might
prefer one over the other. I like honey because I'm a bit of a whole foods
person and it does have a tiny bit of nutritional value, but I still know that
if I eat too much, it'll make me fat.

Rule #4: . . . and it's hiding behind every corner.

And you thought Invasion of the Body Snatchers was creepy . . .
Avoiding the obvious sweetened foods, like soda, cake, cookies and pies, is only
half the battle. Manufacturers add HFCS (as well as other sugars) to a
mind-boggling amount of foods because it adds flavor. If it's in a bottle, box,
or can, read the ingredients. You'll find sweeteners in everything from ketchup
to peanut butter to bread to salad dressing. With a little effort, you can
usually find versions of the same food with no added sugars or HFCS that are
more nutritious and taste just as good.

Rule #5: No, the sugar in fruit isn't bad for you.

FruitsWhen the low-carb
"revolution" hit in the early aughts, fruit was demonized for its sugar content.
This is, in a word, ridiculous. Yes, fruit is loaded with sugar, but it's also
usually loaded with fiber, which slows sugar absorption, making it an ideal way
to get your simple carbs without straining your little insulin buddies. Fruit is
also loaded with easy-to-absorb vitamins and minerals. Most fruit is also filled
with water, yet another benefit.

Even relatively low-fiber fruits like bananas offer far too many benefits to
be denied. Bananas, in particular, are rich in electrolytes, which are crucial
to sports performance. As I always say, I defy you to introduce me to an
overweight person whose biggest indulgence is fruit.

You can think of the ingredients in Shakeology®
the same way. Sure, there's a little sugar in there, but the protein and fiber
slow absorption and the massive amount of nutrients makes it all worthwhile.

Rule #6: Occasionally, a hit of straight sugar is a good thing.

You're sitting around watching television. You haven't done much today. Your
glycogen stores are up, and because you've eaten normally, your blood sugar
level is balanced. Time for some P90X
Results and Recovery Formula®
? Probably not.

Conversely, you just blasted a killer workout. You've blown through your
blood sugar and your glycogen, leaving you shaky and tired. Getting some sugar
in there now to help you recharge fast wouldn't be such a bad idea. Furthermore,
since it'll rush in so fast, it's a great opportunity to add some protein and
micronutrients to that sugar blast, because they'll rush into where they're
needed just as quickly.

If you genuinely gave the workout your all and you're truly wiped out, you
won't even come close to storing that sugar as fat.

So there you go. Not so tough, huh? With a little forethought and
self-control, keeping an eye on your carbs can be, ahem, a piece of cake.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Portobello Burgers

Portobello Burgers
  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps, 5 inches in diameter
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 whole wheat buns, toasted
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4 slices red onion
  • 2 lettuce leaves, halved
Clean mushrooms with a damp cloth and remove their stems. Place in a dish, stem side up. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, and olive oil. Drizzle the marinade over the mushrooms. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for about 1 hour, turning mushrooms once.
Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler. Lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source. Grill or broil the mushrooms on medium heat, turning often, until tender, about 5 minutes on each side. Baste with marinade to keep from drying out. Using tongs, transfer the mushrooms to a plate.
Place each mushroom on a bun and top with 1 tomato slice, 1 onion slice and 1/2 lettuce leaf. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Nutritional Information: (per serving)

Calories: 283
Protein: 8 g
Fiber: 9 g
Carbs: 46 g
Fat Total: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
From my personal meal planner Beachbody website..

Saturday, February 26, 2011

6 Foods with Hidden Sugar

Joe Wilkes via The beachbody newsletter
Load of SugarThe average American eats approximately 1,500 pounds of food every year. Of that, 160 pounds are primarily sugar. Of course, sugar is delicious, and I know I'm the happier for its existence, but of all the things we consume, it has the least nutritive value. In fact, except for the energy in its calories, there's not much to recommend about sugar. It's a prime source of empty calories, and for those of us who are trying to lose weight, sugar's the first thing we should start trimming from our diets. But here's the problem—despite our best intentions to remove excess sugar from our diet, the food industry has found more and more devious ways of slipping us the sweet stuff. Whether the food industry calls sugar by another name or adds it to foods we never thought would have needed it, our sweet tooth is constantly being bombarded. Fortunately, with stricter labeling laws, we have a fighting chance at cutting back on sugar.
Why does the food industry want to fill us so full of sugar?
Big GulpIt's basically the same as any other industry. For the oil industry to make more money, it needs us to use more of its product by driving more miles. The food industry needs us to use more of its product by eating more calories. The problem is that the American food industry is already producing around 3,900 calories per person per day, which is way more than we need. One solution to this surplus is to sell the food cheaply overseas, which the industry does. The other solution is for Americans to eat more calories. And sugar and its corn sweetener brethren are great calorie delivery systems, as they pack a huge caloric punch, without causing much satiety, or feeling of fullness. Check out Steve Edwards' "Sugar vs. Fat" article for more about why sugar is the world-champion fattener.) Most people would probably stop eating steak after they reached 1,000 calories, because they'd be stuffed, but after you drank 1,000 calories from your Big Gulp cup, there's still room for dinner. The other reason the industry pushes sugar so hard is that it's cheap to produce, and the cheaper the calorie, the larger the profit margin.
Sugar in labels—hiding in plain sight.
Multiple Loads of SugarOne of the best ways to disguise the amount of sugar in a product is something the government already requires—printing the information in grams. Most Americans only have the foggiest idea of how much a gram is, because we're unaccustomed to the metric system. So when we pick up a can of soda that contains 40 grams of sugar, we pretty much shrug our shoulders and pop the top. And that attitude is all right with the soda industry! But what if the label said that it contained over 10 teaspoons of sugar? If you saw someone ladling 10 teaspoons of sugar into their morning coffee, you'd think they were crazy, but that's how much people consume in a typical 12-ounce can. In a 64-ounce fountain drink that you'd get at a movie theater or a convenience store, you get over 53 teaspoons of sugar—almost two cups! Naturally, people would probably think twice if the nutritional information on products was given in measurements that were meaningful to them. But until our heavily food industry-subsidized government decides to change its policy, it's a metric world, we just live in it. But we can take note that four grams equals one teaspoon. So when you check out the label, divide the grams of sugar by four, and that's how many teaspoons you're consuming.
Sugar, by any other name, would taste just as sweet.
Mad ScientistAnother strategy the sugar pushers use to get us to consume more calories is to rename the offending ingredient. We know to stay away from sugar, but how about molasses, honey, sorghum, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, fructose, lactose, dextrose, sucrose, galactose, maltose, or concentrated juices like grape or apple? Another path to profit that the food industry has discovered is that instead of harvesting relatively more expensive sugar cane and beets, the industry can produce sweeteners in a laboratory more cheaply and with just as many calories as beet and cane sugar. And with some sweeteners, especially the popular high fructose corn syrup, it is believed that your body will be less likely to reach satiety than with sugar, so you can consume more. Mo' calories, mo' money. Another advantage to these doses of -oses is that, aside from the fact that many people won't guess they're just different forms of sugar, they can be spread out in the ingredient list required by law, so that it won't be as obvious that what you're consuming is pretty much all sugar. When you look at a list of ingredients on a product, the manufacturer is required to list them in order of amount, from highest to lowest. So they can bury a quarter cup of fructose, a quarter cup of sucrose, a quarter cup of dextrose, and a quarter cup of corn syrup in the middle of the list, so you won't be as likely to notice that when you add them all up, the main ingredient in the product is sugar.
Hide and seek. You're it.
Hamburger BunSo, if you're like me, you may have sworn off soda except for special occasions, and turned the candy bowl into an unsalted-almond bowl. No more sugar, no more problems. Except for this problem—the food industry has cleverly snuck its sugars and corn syrups into products where we never would have thought to look for sugar. It's good for the manufacturer. It jacks up the calorie load, can enhance the product's appearance (high-fructose corn syrup gives hamburger buns their golden glow), and can keep our sugar jones simmering at a low boil, in case we ever decide to go back to the real thing. Here are some types of products whose labels could bear more scrutiny.
  1. Spaghetti sauce. A half cup of store-bought sauce can contain as many as three teaspoons of corn syrup or sugar. While some of the naturally occurring sugar in tomatoes and other vegetables will show up on the nutrition label, most of the sugar is added. Look for brands that don't include sugar or its aliases or make your own from fresh or canned tomatoes.
  2. Ketchup Ketchup. Ketchup can be 20 percent sugar or more. Not to mention that you'll get 7 percent of your daily sodium allowance in one tablespoon. Look for low-salt, no-sugar brands, or make your own, using pureed carrots to add flavor and texture to the tomatoes.
  3. Reduced-fat cookies. Most brands of cookies now offer a reduced-fat version of their product. Nabisco even offers its own line of low-fat treats, Snackwells. But while you're patting yourself on the back for choosing the low-fat option, check the label. The sneaky food manufacturers did take out the fat, but they replaced it with, you guessed it, sugar. Many times, the reduced-fat cookie is only slightly less caloric than the one you want to eat. And because there's no fat to make you feel full, you'll be tempted to eat more "guilt-free" cookies. And just because there's less fat, it doesn't mean you'll be less fat. Fat doesn't make you fat. Calories make you fat.
  4. Salad Dressing Low-fat salad dressing. Like the cookies, manufacturers have taken the fat out of the dressing, but they've added extra salt and sugar to make up for it. Check the label to make sure you're not replacing heart-healthy olive oil with diabetes-causing sugar—because that's not really a "healthy choice." Your best bet? Make your own vinaigrettes using a small amount of olive oil, a tasty gourmet vinegar or fresh lemon juice, and some fresh herbs.
  5. Bread. Most processed breads, especially white hamburger and hot dog buns, can contain a good bit of sugar or corn syrup. That's what gives them the golden-brown crust. As always, check the ingredient label, and consider getting your bread at a real bakery or a farmers' market—it's the best idea since, well, you know.
  6. Fast FoodFast food. Needless to say, fast food is generally not good for you. But even if you're staying away from the sodas and the shakes, everything from the burgers to the fries to the salads is a potential place to hide sugar. Check out the ingredients carefully at your favorite restaurant. You may be getting more than you bargained for.

Decide and Commit

If you ever want to make extra cash with Team Beachbody. Decide and Commit! You will get into the best shape of your life while making an extra income.  I would be honored to have you on my team!
Message me if for more details at

Down and Dirty One Pot Meals

By Joe Wilkes via Beachbody Newsletter

Meat and Vegetables in a Pot
For a lot of us, an elegant sit-down family dinner means serving the chicken without the bucket. Having to work until 5:00 or 6:00 at night and then having to come home and whip up something your children will eat that won't get you reported to Protective Services can be a challenge for anyone. Then after the cooking, the serving, and potentially the force-feeding, you get to spend the rest of the evening doing the dishes and cleaning your kitchen so you can do it all again tomorrow. They never show that part on Martha Stewart. No wonder you have the pizza place on speed-dial. But it's possible to eat both quickly and healthily. Here are a few ideas for getting something nutritious on the table in a hurry, and the best part? Only one pot to clean!
(And for single people, invest in some airtight containers, freeze your leftovers, and be a slave to Lean Cuisine® no more!)
  1. Vegetables in a WokGet to wok. Instead of summoning the deliverymen with the greasy white boxes, try making your own stir-fry feast. You can cut out most of the extra fat, corn syrup, and sodium your takeout place so kindly provides, and if you can enlist some prep help with the chopping, it takes only minutes to cook, and even less time to clean!

    • Heat enough olive, peanut, or sesame oil to keep food from sticking to the wok.
    • When the oil's hot, add sliced meat or tofu with some crushed ginger and/or garlic.
    • When the meat is cooked through, add your favorite chopped veggies, like carrots, celery, cabbage, onions, snow peas, or scallions (you can chop the veggies while the meat's cooking).
    • Add a dash of low-sodium soy sauce or tamari or a little orange juice to make a sauce and serve!
    If you're not watching your carbs and don't want to get another pot dirty, follow the microwaveable rice directions in the "Lazy Chef" article earlier in this newsletter. Same rule applies: Go for brown or wild rice. You can also make extra rice and make Quick Rice Surprise the next day, or stir-fry the extra rice with any leftover meat and vegetables. And if you scramble an egg into the mix, you've got healthy fried rice—increasing your meal output impressively for virtually the same amount of effort.
    Shortcut: Many grocery stores sell mixes of stir-fry vegetables already chopped and combined in their produce or frozen foods sections. They won't be quite as delicious as freshly chopped, but as long as they don't have any extra ingredients (frozen mixes especially might add some sauce or salt you don't want), they're just as healthy.
  2. MeatloafLoafing after work. The humble meatloaf. Most of us remember this classic treat from our childhood. It was usually an alchemic combination of ground beef, bread crumbs, ketchup, and whole eggs. Delicious? Yes. Nutritious? Not so much. Much of the deliciousness came from the beef fat soaking the bread crumbs and combining with the egg yolks to give us a couple of days' worth of saturated fat in one serving. Then there's all the extra salt and corn syrup the ketchup brings to the party. But it doesn't have to be this way—a healthy 'loaf can be made, still be flavorful without the fat, and still maintain enough structural integrity to be repurposed as a sandwich filling the next day.

    • Use extra-lean ground beef, or either ground turkey breast or extra-lean ground turkey. Check the label to be sure it's extra-lean—if it just says "ground turkey," it can have 15 percent or more fat, and what's the point of that?
    • Next, add some vegetables to the mix. You can add chopped or grated carrots, celery, onions, bell peppers, parsnips—whatever you like. Just watch the amounts of juicier veggies like tomatoes, which can turn your loaf into less appetizing soup. The amount of vegetables should be proportional to the meat. (This is also a great way of slipping veggies to the picky eaters in your family.)
    • Instead of adding bread crumbs, try a handful of rolled oats. You'll get more fiber and they won't absorb fat the way that bread crumbs will (not that there's all that much to absorb with this revamped approach to the 'loaf).
    • Add a couple of egg whites, which, along with the oats' gluten, will provide enough "glue" to hold the 'loaf together. Also add any fresh herbs, garlic, or other seasonings you enjoy. Mush it all together and shape into the familiar 'loaf form beloved throughout history.
    • Most meatloaf recipes bake in a 350ish-degree oven for an hour or so and call for the 'loaf to sit for at least 15 minutes to cool, letting the ingredients take time to cohere and giving the flavors time to marry fully.
    Shortcut: Take a look a little later on in this newsletter for a terrific reduced-fat meatloaf recipe that follows the principles we've just laid out for you. It's delish!

    Also, not good at separating eggs? Most grocery stores sell cartons of egg whites on their own. Or you can use egg substitutes, like Egg Beaters®. In addition to being healthier, they're also more convenient. No cracking, scrambling, or getting hands and bowls dirty. It may only save a couple of minutes, but those are minutes better devoted to serious 'loafing!
  3. Beef StewStew in your own juices. Stew. Or as I like to call it, my vegetables' last stop before Garbagetown. You're cooking and cleaning out your refrigerator—now that's multitasking! You can call it stew, goulash, gumbo, cassoulet, ratatouille, cioppino, or ragout, but most importantly, you can call it dinner.

    • Put a big pot on the stove. Put a little olive or canola oil in the bottom, and when it heats, brown some raw meat, poultry, fish (best if it's not too flaky or delicate), or tofu. (If you're using leftover or precooked meat, just throw it in with the vegetables, and ignore this and the next step.)
    • Put the cooked protein aside, drain the fat, and then deglaze the pot with a little red or white wine.
    • Next pay a visit to the vegetable morgue, also known as the crisper drawer, and add to the pot whatever looks like it won't make it through the night (some garlic and onions are always good, too—even if they're not at death's door). Root vegetables are traditional favorites here: carrots, turnips, parsnips, and potatoes are all great ingredients for a hearty stew. Smaller ones can be scrubbed, trimmed, and cooked whole; otherwise cut them in one- or two-inch chunks.
    • Once the veggies have softened and relinquished their juices, add the meat back in, add some low-sodium chicken, vegetable, or beef broth and/or some no-salt tomato sauce, and cook on low heat until it reaches the desired consistency (about 15 to 20 minutes).
    • If you're short on time after work, this could be thrown together in a Crock-Pot® or slow cooker in the morning, and when you return home, dinner's ready!
    Shortcut: Most supermarkets' meat departments sell pre-cut cubes of meat or fish, all wrapped up and ready to go. Also, it's always good to have a couple of favorite staple vegetables in the freezer or a can or two of beans on hand to throw into the pot.
  4. CasseroleThe casserole—a pan and a plan. How would the cream-of-anything soup industry stay in business without casseroles? Not to mention the canned-french-fried onion companies. Casseroles, in and of themselves, don't have to be bad for you. They start out with meat and vegetables, which are usually pretty healthy. It's the improvisations that usually get our diets in trouble.

    • To begin with, choose lean meats. Sausage-and-whatever casseroles are usually yummy because the other ingredients soak up all the artery-clogging fat from the sausage. Using lean meat or poultry will help keep it healthy from the get-go.
    • Also, keep the vegetable-to-meat ratio fairly high. Imagine what a serving of a casserole would look like spread out on a plate in its component parts. You probably wouldn't consider a pound of meat and a Brussels sprout a well-balanced meal. Try to keep the meat to about 4 ounces per serving and fill the rest of the pan with fiber-rich, filling, healthy vegetables (not just potatoes, either).
    • For sauces, try to avoid cheese and anything that begins with "cream of," as well as actual cream itself. Canned soups, a casserole staple, usually rely heavily on sodium for flavor. You can do much better by using a low-sodium broth, which you can whisk together with some nonfat powdered milk and corn starch to make a faux cream sauce.
    • If you like pasta in your casserole, try using a whole-grain variety.
    • And instead of adding french-fried onions, how about thinly sliced almonds to provide a little crunch?
    Shortcut: Most casseroles can be assembled a day ahead of time, so if you're anticipating a late day at the office, you can make the casserole the night before, and just pop it into the oven the next day. That overnight bonding time you give your ingredients will make the casserole that much tastier.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Kaylani is ready for st pattys day!! Haha yaaay!

A best friend is like a four leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have.

An Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold onto one blade of grass to keep from falling off the earth.  ~Irish Saying

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

P90X "The Reason "-- World Premiere

Very Inspirational! This is a must see Enjoy my friends!!!

Do Power Balance bracelets really work?

New Insanity Asylum

I finished the first round of Insanity.. Heres the next one and to be honest I am kinda scared! haha It looks super duper intense.. Whos crazy enough to try this? It will be crazy but totally worth it!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Britney Spears - Hold It Against Me

Britneys soo pretty in this new video! :)

The 8-Week Transition Diet

By Steve Edwards via Beachbody newsletter

The 6-Week Transition Diet was one of the first things I ever wrote for Beachbody®, way back in 2001. It's remained popular ever since; in fact, in 2005, I gave it a facelift and increased it from 6 weeks to 8. Five years on, it's time to dust it off and spruce it up for the modern age. We've found over the years that this transitional eating plan is one of the easiest ways to change your eating habits for the better.

It's often said that no one diet works for every individual. While this is true, you may have noticed that all Beachbody eating plans target a similar goal: eating more natural whole foods and less junk. That's because there are no secrets to healthy eating. There are strategies that can lead to various performance benefits, but 99 percent of diet is cutting junk and eating real food. With this in mind, our Beachbody nutrition guides use various strategies, all designed to lead you to the same place.

While those nutrition guides tend to be detailed and filled with recipes, the 8-Week Transition Diet is for those of you who are less detail oriented. Conceptually based diets like this can be easier to follow, because they focus on providing you with a short list of "no-nos," leaving you with a fairly wide array of foods that you are allowed to eat. Of course, that isn't the approach you want to have for long-term success. Any diet, no matter how easy it seems, will take some willpower on your part if you want to see results. Your long-range goal should be to eat well, period. If you can accomplish this, your physical transformation will become a natural extension of your lifestyle, instead of something you need to pursue.

As healthy eating becomes a habit, you will find the other intangibles (weight loss, increased energy, etc.) falling into place. For many people, the easiest way to accomplish the healthy-eating habit is to make a gradual transition from food choices that hinder human performance to ones that help you perform better. By making this transition gradually, you'll find that it isn't as difficult as you expected.

Week 1
No junk. Eliminate junk food from your diet. That's it, just junk. Other than this, you can eat whatever and whenever you like. Now, how hard can that be? Guess this depends on what I mean by "junk." But all I'm concerned with this week is the obvious stuff like potato chips, candy, ice cream, cake, etc. You may be stricter if you'd like, but for Week 1, don't be too hard on yourself. For many of you, this step alone will reap huge benefits.

Cheat Days: 2

Since no one's perfect, you get 2 days to cheat. That's right, 2 days where you can eat anything you want! A trick on these days (and, yes, this means there will be more) is to listen to your body. At first, it'll probably tell you it wants whatever you've been denying it. However, over time, it'll start to crave nutrients you're deficient in. Learn to read your body's subtleties. If you're craving ice cream, you may be short on essential fatty acids. If you crave a hamburger, your diet may lack protein. This way, you can make better food substitutions. It's a way of getting in tune with yourself that will benefit you for your entire lifetime.

Weekly focus: Water. Not swimming in it, though that's good too, but staying hydrated with it. You should drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. Diet sodas and such are no substitute, because they contain a passel of ingredients that live right at the bottom of the junk heap. Drinking a glass of water when you feel hunger pangs coming on will not only keep you hydrated, but will help stave off your hunger to some degree.

As for other drinks, juices and sugary sodas also (obviously) fall into the junk category. And alcohol should be kept to a minimum. We tend to forget (purposely or not) that alcohol has calories. A lot of them: 7 calories per gram. Mixers can be even worse—not only can they add calories, but sugary calories influence the way alcohol reacts with your body. When you do drink, red wine is the alcohol of choice, with natural beer running second.

Week 2
Each week's rules are cumulative, so the "no junk" rule from Week 1 will apply until the end, as will each subsequent week's rule. Remember that this is a learning and conditioning process. It's like you're in school and the subject is your own body.

Eat small, eat often. Eat four to six small meals a day, and don't eat anything for about 3 hours before you go to sleep. Following these rules will keep your blood sugar levels more static and your energy level will stay consistent. Try to keep each snack or meal balanced. Keep a 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbohydrate, and 30 percent fat scale in mind, though you don't need to worry too much about it. Just realize that you need a bit from each macronutrient group. Eat based on what you'll be doing for the next few hours (if you're working out, eat a little more; sitting at a desk, eat a little less). The 3-hours-before-bed rule is important, especially for fats and carbohydrates. By allowing time for all the carbs you eat to get into your bloodstream, your body will sleep in fat-burning mode, rather than in calorie-storing mode. This is important because undigested carbs in your stomach at night are stored as adipose tissue (fat).

Cheat Days: 2

Weekly focus: Carbs are not the enemy. Your body needs them, just like it needs proteins and fats. The trick is to choose the right carbs. As a society, we eat too much refined sugar. Complex carbs, like whole-grain breads, whole-grain rice, sweet potatoes, and legumes are outstanding foods. Even fruits, which have simple carbohydrates wrapped in fiber, are very good for you and hard to overconsume. While you don't want a diet based on nothing but carbs, making the right carb choices will maximize your body's potential. Try to avoid white rice and flours. Read labels, and try to avoid ones that use the word "enriched," because this means these products have been stripped of their natural nutrients, overprocessed, and then fortified with a few random nutrients.

Week 3
Eat some colorful, low-density food at every meal. These are foods that take up a lot of space without a lot of calories. Veggies are the most obvious example. You can eat a salad bowl overflowing with lettuce and veggies and you most likely won't exceed 100 calories. By eating low-density foods like veggies and fruits, you'll keep your portions under control naturally, because they have very few calories for their size. Conversely, high-density foods, like chocolate and butter, are loaded with calories in even the smallest amounts. So beware of salad dressings and other things you add to salads and veggies. Only add enough for flavor; don't fill up on them. When it comes to live foods, the richer the colors, the fresher the products tend to be. Try to eat a variety of colors in your diet. This simple and somewhat random act will help ensure that you're covering your bases, nutrient-wise.

Cheat Days: 1

Weekly focus: Protein at every meal. This becomes even more important as you eat more low-density food, because protein tends to be high-density. Many veggies have a lot of protein, but the quantity you must consume starts to become prohibitive. Try to get some protein—meat, dairy products, nuts, seeds, or legumes—each time you eat, especially when you're working out hard, because you need to repair broken-down muscle tissue. Frequency of protein consumption is even more vital for women, who aren't able to digest as much protein at one time as men are. It's almost impossible to get all your necessary protein at one or two meals, so try to get 10 to 20 grams of protein each time you eat. Reading labels is a simple way to learn how to estimate your protein intake, but if you eat natural foods, most of which don't have labels, you can look at online nutritional information guides to determine the amount of protein each serving contains.

Week 4
Cook at home. One of the best ways to control your eating is to prepare all your meals yourself. Eliminate all fast food (which should have been gone in Week 1) and most other restaurant food. You may still eat food from certain restaurants where you can be sure of the ingredients (most will be savvy enough to make a point of how healthy their food is). But avoid all fast food chains, even ones that claim to be "healthy." Restaurants need their food to taste good, so they'll often use compromised ingredients, even when they list low numbers on fats and/or calories. Fast food can contain many hidden evils in addition to calories. For example, next time you see one of those nutrition charts, check the sodium levels; most fast foods use ridiculously high amounts of salt. Avoiding fast food alone will often bring your body closer to homeostasis (its desired state of balance). This can be hard for many of us because we now have to plan our meals and prepare ahead of time, but try and treat it like vocational school—you don't learn a new "job" without a little retraining.

Cheat Days: 1

Weekly focus: Fat is essential. Remember that fat is a vital part of your diet, not just something that makes you fat. What is not vital is a lot of saturated or trans fats. Trans fats are mainly those that are artificial, and hopefully they've been eliminated from your diet by this point, since they're generally only found in junk. Saturated fats are found in dairy products and meats, and you don't need too much. For cooking, try to use olive oil when possible. Also, the addition of either flaxseed or hempseed can have a pronounced effect on your health. These seeds are loaded with essential fatty acids (omegas 3 and 6). Be careful about that amount of fat. It is dense and has 9 calories per gram, as opposed to 4 for both carbs and protein. A tablespoon goes a long way!

Week 5
Reduce starchy carbohydrates. Starches include rice, bread, potatoes, corn, beans, and other legumes. While many of these are in no way bad foods, most people tend to consume far too many of them. So what you want to do this week is cut way down on them, if not cutting them out completely. Then add them back in when your body feels like it needs energy, which it will at some point if you're exercising (and why wouldn't you be?). But don't add a huge plate or bowl of pasta; instead, add a small single serving. Starches are great energy food, but if you eat too many, they turn the tables and make you sluggish!

Cheat Days: 1

Weekly focus: Sugar is only beneficial after a hard workout. Your body doesn't need processed sugar. But if you really enjoy it and can't avoid letting some sneak into your daily diet, the 1-hour period after you exercise is the best time to indulge. During this window, your blood sugar is low, because you've used it up to finish your workout (assuming you pushed yourself), and sugar during this time will help you recover faster because it speeds into your system and initiates the recovery process. Adding a little protein, but not too much, will enhance your recovery even further. The best ratio is 1 part protein to 4 parts carbs, as in Results and Recovery Formula®. You should avoid fats during this immediate post-workout period, because they slow absorption—a good thing most of the time, just not during and immediately after working out.

Week 6
If man makes it, don't eat it. This is likely to be the hardest week of your diet. You want to eat only whole foods and eliminate all processed foods, even good ones, for the week. This includes breads, most salad dressings, all cereal, luncheon meats, cheese, dried fruits, anything with preservatives, and alcoholic beverages. What you can eat are whole foods such as fruit, raw or steamed vegetables, meat (sans any type of sauce), natural whole-grain rice, poached eggs, etc. Since your eating habits have been slowly changing, this shouldn't be that big a shock to your system, but keeping in focus that you only have to do this for 7 days will make it easier. (Although each week's rules are cumulative in the plan, Week 6 is more of a "cleanse" or "reset" week where you avoid all processed food; after Week 6, you can go back to the occasional processed food, but chances are you'll take what you learned this week and tend to make healthier, smarter choices.)

Cheat Days: 1

The "cheat day" mentality isn't a bad one. Rewards like decadent desserts, a night at the buffet, or drinking with friends are good for you as long as you keep them in perspective. These are rewards for a life well lived and you should be able to feel good about doing them. Plus, there's some method to this madness as well, in that you still tend to crave nutrients you lack. So if you're cutting down on the calories to lose weight, allowing yourself a cheat day will give your body a chance to take in what it needs to avoid being malnourished.

Weekly focus: Nuts make great snacks. A handful of raw almonds or cashews is a quick and easy snack that goes a long way. Don't be put off by the high fat count of nuts, because this means it takes fewer of them to satiate you. Nuts are loaded with important phytonutrients, as well as good fats, proteins, and fiber.

Week 7
Be yourself. No rules—just try and eat as healthily as you can and do it by feel. Trusting yourself might seem like a lot of responsibility, but by now you'll be up to it. Learning to eat by feeling what your body needs is an important step in your transformation. Consider the way you've been eating over the last 6 weeks, but don't worry about what you should and shouldn't do. Just fuel yourself. The point is to take a mental break. Relax and allow yourself to eat in a way that feels normal. You may be surprised to find yourself craving something healthy instead of a candy bar or soda. You'll be better at listening to your body because it'll tell you what it needs to eat, as opposed to what you're used to eating. Your body should feel somewhat transformed. Does it?

"Reward for a Life Well Lived" Days: 1

Weekly focus: If you're so hungry at night that you can't sleep, try a protein shake (like Beachbody Whey Protein Powder) before bed. When it's real, and not habitual, hunger means you lack nutrients your body needs to repair itself as you sleep. You want nothing but protein powder and water. No carbs or superfluous calories. But protein at night, especially whey, will help the body repair damaged tissue and enhance the natural growth-hormone spike that you get while you sleep.

Week 8
Eat a perfect diet. Now it's time for a real challenge—are you ready? The perfect diet is strictly individual, as there's no one diet that suits everybody. So who better to choose the perfect diet for you than you? Our bodies are all different, and the key to your own perfect diet is learning about how your body reacts to different foods under different circumstances. Your journey over the last 7 weeks should have brought you to a new understanding of how food affects your body, both for good and for bad. Now it's up to you to put it to the test. See how well you can eat for a week. In fact, see how well you can eat for the rest of your life. Live and enjoy.

Reward Days: 1, of course!

Weekly Focus: Don't bonk. Bonking is a state where your body runs out of stored blood sugar for energy. If you feel like your workouts are going backward instead of forward, this is a likely culprit. Use your energy level as your gauge. As soon as it starts to drop, start adding carbs back into your diet until you feel energized all day long. When you feel energized during your workouts and not sluggish throughout the rest of the day, you'll know you've found the right balance between carbs and other nutrients. Also, remember that as your body puts on more muscle, you will need to eat more. Muscle weighs much more than fat so as you gain muscle and lose fat, you will shrink at the same weight. You will also require more calories in order to maintain your muscle. So when you're working out hard, don't be afraid to eat more carbs than you do otherwise.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cellulite: Hold the Cottage Cheese, Please

By Stephanie S. Saunders via Beachbody newsletter
One of the most hated words in the English language must surely be cellulite. For the 90 percent of women who are plagued by the "cottage cheese" dimples that can run across the backs of arms and the entire lower body, it can seem like the ugliest thing in the world. Sure, you can hide it beneath clothing, but once bikini season hits, it's all over. From a self-consciousness point of view, it's as if you're back in middle school. You might as well make it a trifecta of humiliation by slapping on some braces and a lime-green prom dress. While there's no way yet to completely rid your body of cellulite, there are a few ways to help improve its appearance.

The term cellulite refers to the dimpled appearance of skin that can occur at any point on the body where the skin is thinner. Under the upper layer of skin, there's a layer of connective tissue that holds fat into place. In most women (and some men), this connective tissue has gaps in it, which allow the fat to push through, creating a bumpy appearance. The difference between fat and cellulite is simply where the deposit lies in relation to these gaps in the connective tissue. That, and the fact that even with weight loss and muscle gain, so-called "normal" fat may disappear, while cellulite seems to want to continue keeping your thighs company indefinitely.

Cellulite can occur in the thinnest of women and men (sorry, guys) and doesn't seem to discriminate based on nationality, financial standing, age, or weight. There are believed to be hormonal and hereditary issues that can contribute to causing cellulite. Other causes may include poor circulation, lack of exercise, and even too-tightly fitting undergarments. But no one really knows for sure why 10 percent of the female population is gifted with not having to deal with cellulite, while the rest of us have rear ends that look like a giant golf ball.

So when faced with the appearance of orange peel on your thighs, what should you do? Well, there's good and bad news. The bad news is that there is no actual way, surgical or otherwise, to get rid of cellulite completely at present. No amount of vacuuming, injections, creams, or painful massage will eradicate it permanently. But there are many things that can potentially improve the appearance of cellulite. The following is a list of options, ranked from the least to most invasive and/or expensive.

Diet. There are several diets out here that claim to remove cellulite from the body. After a bit of research, you'll find that most of them are just healthy eating plans that tell you to reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption, avoid processed foods, and drink plenty of water. This, of course, doesn't really bring anything specific to the table for cellulite. It might help you lose overall body fat, which will reduce the appearance of the lumpy stuff, but no amount of pineapple consumption will completely remove it.
Exercise. Magazines are full of articles on exercises to ban dimpled thighs. Again, these exercises are designed to promote muscle growth and fat loss. Unfortunately, a lot of them are exercises that only target very specific areas, which will not benefit your overall fitness level and are fairly pointless, considering that you can't spot-reduce fat. Hard cardio and a toned physique will go just as far, if not farther, for reducing the appearance of cellulite. Overall, continuing with your P90X or INSANITY® workout plans will do more for you than will any number of leg lifts alone.
Tanning. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has again come out with studies on how horrible the effects of tanning beds and baking in the sun can be. Tanning has now been compared to cigarettes and arsenic. Which is unfortunate, because a little color on your skin can do more to mask extra bumpy tissue than just about anything else. Luckily, there are an abundance of tanning creams and spray-on tans out there that can give you a similar effect without the risk of skin cancer. Just be careful with application, and if you go the professional route, make sure the folks you choose know what they're doing. I once attended a black tie event with hands the color of a pumpkin. Not pretty.
Creams. There are thousands of topical treatments available that can cost anywhere from 10 dollars to several hundred. Most of them have the common "active" ingredients aminophylline, caffeine, and theophyilline. Sad to say, none of these creams can deliver the needed concentration to the necessary depth to make much of a difference in the connective tissue. They're promoted as increasing circulation, but ultimately, you're just using a very expensive moisturizer.
Massage. Massage is another attempt at breaking down connective tissue and increasing circulation in the area. Unfortunately, cellulite is a tougher problem than can be fixed by a single day at the spa. However, there have been studies that consistent, rather aggressive massage techniques can really assist in the cottage cheese reduction process. Before scheduling a daily visit from your massage therapist, though, try intensely rubbing the affected areas on your own with a moisturizer for a few weeks and see if there's any change in appearance. Thankfully, most cellulite appears on areas of the body you can actually reach.
Wraps. Wraps have been around forever and still have devoted followers all over the world. The idea of the body wrap is to dehydrate the area, removing all excess water, supposedly creating a leaner appearance. Wrestlers and ballet dancers alike are infamous for wrapping themselves in plastic and sitting in a sauna for ridiculous amounts of time to try and drop "weight." These results are temporary and will usually return to normal with any intake of water. Wraps may in fact moisturize the skin, but so will a bit of inexpensive aloe vera cream.
Supplements. Supplements can be extremely effective in helping you achieve fitness goals, but like all things I've mentioned thus far, no combination of herbal remedies has been proven effective in the fight against cellulite. Most contain some sort of ginkgo biloba, sweet clover, grapeseed bioflavinoids, oil of evening primrose, fish oil, and soy lecithin. All might assist your metabolism, and possibly your immunity and brain function, but none will make the dimples disappear.
Injections. Here's a cellulite remedy that can cause actual discomfort. Mesotherapy is a series of injections to the cellulite-affected area. Very similar to Botox® for your back end, it's highly controversial and can require up to 10 visits to see any results. The medication injected has been approved by the FDA for other cosmetic issues, but wasn't designed for use on cellulite, and is so new that all potential side effects haven't been discovered yet. Before you choose to go this route, make sure to discuss it thoroughly with your medical practitioner.
Suction massage. Endermology was created in France about 15 years ago for the temporary reduction of cellulite. The machine creates suction, pulling and squeezing affected areas, which eventually seems to redistribute the fat somewhat, but in truth, it doesn't change the fat's makeup. Sessions last about 45 minutes, require 10 to 12 visits, and are rather expensive. Without regular maintenance visits, the appearance of cellulite will simply return.
Lasers. The FDA has approved two different laser options, both used with either a suction device or massage therapy. A low-level laser is radiated on the skin as some type of massage is administered. Both TriActive and VelaSmooth® require as many sessions as Endermology, in addition to continued follow-up maintenance, and can cost thousands of dollars. The effectiveness of laser treatments on cellulite is still unclear, but for individuals with enough cash to spare, this presently seems to be one of the best possible options for cellulite reduction.
Remember, while many of these approaches can improve the appearance of cellulite, none seem to remove cellulite completely or permanently. Until a method is found that will accomplish the total eradication of cellulite, it might be better to spend less money on expensive creams and injections and more on nutritious foods and activities that support a healthy lifestyle. Not only will this help to improve your skin tone, but it'll make you feel better about your whole body, inside and out. And isn't that more important than a few extra dimples?